5 nights in the picturesque town of Dubrovnik is definitely enough time to soak in the sun, do a little island hopping between the Elafiti Islands (which stretch northwest of Dubrovnik, in the Adriatic Sea) and pretty much see all you need to see!
Highlights of the trip:
*8 hour private boat tour of the Elafiti Islands, which can be booked through this company :http://www.adriaticglobal.net/en/services/speed-boats.aspx I’d recommend doing a little research before going on the tour, depending on what exactly you’d like to see and how much time you want to spend on each island. If you are not particular about timing etc, there are also plenty of full day group tours (which cost a fraction of the price and are most likely just as good): http://www.viator.com/tours/Dubrovnik/Croatia-Elafiti-Islands-Cruise-from-Dubrovnik/d904-5360DBVCRUISE). The most advantageous part of the private tour was being able to stop at small, private and secluded little islands along the way without any other tourists in sight! We could then pull out our cooler box and have a glass of wine or snorkel along the shore in privacy, which was absolutely lovely. Swimming in the Blue Caves at Kolocep was definitely incredible too and personally my favorite part of the tour. The caves are not very big, but the experience of swimming into a very dark and inhabited cave is something very exhilarating and memorable. The water is illuminated inside with an electric, slightly eerie aqua light.
*Lopud island was absolutely gorgeous and definitely my favorite island out of the 3 Elafiti Islands. It’s also one of the few islands with sandy beaches and a lovely 19th century Gjorgic Mayneri Park, with is definitely worth checking out too!
*Jet Skiing and Tubing! Definitely take part in some water sports when you visit Dubrovnik as they are obviously one of the main activities on the island and well worth your time and money. If you absolutely LOVE jet-skiing and want to be very adventurous and explore some of the hidden islands on your own, I’d recommend renting a jet ski from Gari Transfers :http://garitransfer.com/category/jet-ski-dubrovnik/ as you can rent a jet ski for a half/full day for a VERY reasonable price, compared to what you will pay for only one hour at the resorts (typically around US$120).
*Indulge in a meal at Nautika Restaurant! http://www.nautikarestaurant.com/ View, food, atmosphere and service = AMAZING! Seriously, one of the best restaurants I have eaten at and definitely the most romantic restaurant I have ever been to That said, this restaurant comes with a very heavy price tag… so be prepared!! (Don’t forget to make a reservation a few days before hand asking for a table with a prime view/location and if you only end up trying one thing – make sure you get the Lobster!)
*The view from our Hotel balcony..especially at sunset If you are looking to stay in a nice hotel a little distance away from the hustle and bustle of Old Town, I’d highly recommend the Valamar President Hotel http://www.valamar.com/en/hotels-dubrovnik/valamar-dubrovnik-president-hotel The hotel is situated on the beachfront at the tip of the Babin Kuk peninsula. There is a bus which stops just outside the hotel and runs every 10 minutes to Old Town, so commuting is very easy and convenient (the bus ride takes about 15mins). The hotel itself is exquisite and very modern with a private beach and heaps of activities and amenities to keep everyone entertained.
*Spend a few minutes in the Dubrovnik Ice Bar in Old Town! http://www.dubrovnik.com/discover/events/970-ice-bar-onofrio If you have never been inside an Ice Bar, I’d recommend visiting this one just for the experience. There is an entrance fee of about 20USD which entitles you to one free drink of your choice and the loan of a warm over coat with a pair of gloves. It’s quite the novelty as you sip your drink from an ice cup whilst seated on frozen blocks of ice!! 20 minutes and I was out of there
*Walking the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik in Old Town. This is a given and you will not regret the effort, just be sure to bring a bottle of water for the walk as it can get quite exhausting if it is hot outside:)
A few tips for you…..
*Bring a pair of SWIMS or some sort of water shoe as most of the beaches in Dubrovnik are rock/stone beaches and if you are planning on swimming a lot and exploring some of the shores of the little islands, you may need some protection for your feet.
*Bring casual clothes with you! No heels or designer clothing etc. Everyone is dressed very casually and laid back here as it is a beach town and not a very ‘Haute Couture’ one (compared to the Amalfi Coast!). However, make sure you pack all the clothes you need as it is very difficult to find clothing stores for some reason or another.
*Bring conditioner and hair products (if you need them!). Our hotel did not know what “conditioner” was and claimed that in Dubrovnik there is no such thing! Seems awfully weird, but I actually wasn’t able to find any so maybe it is true
*If you are going to do a private tour of the Elafiti Islands, I would honestly recommend skipping out on the island of Sipan (it’s very small, not awfully attractive and nothing much going on!)
*Take a kayak up to Locrum Island. Unfortunately, we did not do this on our trip as we found out too late, but the island appears to have a fascinating history behind it.. apparently it’s cursed and no one is allowed to reside or own property on it. The skeletal remains of many dead humans have also been found on the island (so the locals say!)
*Every time we asked for a ‘meal recommendation’ at a restaurant we found that the waiter would just suggest the most expensive dish, so be careful asking for meal recommendations!
*Dubrovnik is not a cheap city and dining out can be quite expensive, especially in the Old Town.
*Take a stroll down the main road in Lapad (just a few minutes from the Old Town and Babin Kuk). This is more of a local spot with a ton of gorgeous restaurants and bars and the main road leads you down to a lovely little beachfront area. Restaurant prices are also more reasonable here!
*The local’s don’t seem to be the most friendly/welcoming of people I’ve come across (in my own personal opinion) and so asking for recommendations, directions etc can be a little challenging at times! But, who knows – you may have a different experience An absolutely lovely and charming town nonetheless